Professional Makeup Artist | Organic Chemist | Educator

Monday 29 August 2016

What I Got for My Birthday: Mini Reviews, Swatches & Looks

Today’s post was long overdue. I had the best birthday ever this year with lots of presents that I wanted to share with you guys. Knowing my love for makeup, fashion, accessories and books, my friends showered me with them. So, let’s check out all the awesome gifts I got!

Traditional Embroidered Shirt

Fizzah sent over this gorgeous multi-coloured embroidered shirt from Sialkot with a drawstring neckline, which I’ve always been a fan of. The fabric is very comfortable and you can pair it with a number of colour and design combinations depending on your mood.

The lovely Huda from The Lipstickholic sent me a surprise package with cute studs, Maybelline color drama in Nude Perfection and Sigma shimmer cream in Sultry.

Sphere Studs

I have seen these funky round studs with crystals encased in intricate cages but I’ve never tried them on because I thought they wouldn’t go with my face shape. Thank you Huda for picking these out because I got to try something new and I really enjoyed their versatility. You can see me wearing the red ones in the look above.

Maybelline Color Drama in Nude Perfection

Nude lipsticks are always so hard for me to pick so kudos to Huda for selecting the perfect nude for me on a whim. Nude Perfection is a lighter nude on me but by no means does it wash me out. It has just enough warmth to hold its own against a smokey liner. The application is super easy and the formula is creamy with average lasting power. The only drawback is that it has to be sharpened, which wastes product.

Sigma Shimmer Cream in Sultry

I am sure many of you were drooling after the Sigma Shimmer Creams when Huda reviewed them on her blog. Thanks for reading my mind so well Huda! I love bronzer and had been looking for a cream one. This gives you that naturally tanned look with a subtle glow because of the shimmer element. It has the finest shimmer I have ever seen in a face product. Absolutely beautiful! I am drenched in this shimmer cream in the look above. The shade looked amazing on my neutral toned fair to medium skin. It lasted for hours in the summer heat.

Boots Eye Dazzle 17

I am a huge fan of Boots’ skincare and bath products so I was very excited to get this from Huda from the Sparkling Palette Blog. I have tried their lipsticks before and they were quite yummy. In the swatch alone this pigment looks like a powder blue but don’t be deceived! This duo-chrome beauty reveals the most wondrous shades of oceanic blue and green when used over a base. Here it is applied over Essence 2-in-1 shadow stick 05 I’m Blue, which is also blended into the crease, for a no-foundation trial look I attempted for my convocation. I used Sleek Blush by 3-Pink Lemonade in “Macaroon” on both the cheeks and lips to go with the cool tones on the eyes. It is pigmented, easy to apply and doesn’t fade overtime. I wore it on my convocation in extreme heat over the Essence shadow stick and it didn’t budge all day.

MM Makeup Ethereal Glow

This is my first time trying anything from this new brand and I was really impressed. Thank you Huda for picking out this red toned berry baked blush. I have been hunting for red toned blushes lately because they give a more natural result. It is stunning to look at in the pain and on the cheeks. It is insanely pigmented so I had to be careful. Ethereal Glow is best applied with a brush that has looser longer bristles like a stippling brush. Since it’s baked it gives a gentle luminosity to the skin and it has impressive lasting power even in the hot and humid monsoon of Lahore.

Beauty UK Sweet Cheeks in Vanilla Ice

I got myself this cream highlighting chubby stick from Beauty UK after I couldn’t hold in my curiosity. This is unlike any highlighter I have, cream or powder, because it literally looks like your skin is naturally glowing from within. The effect is almost like the one makeup artists create with natural oils for editorials. It barely has any colour so your own skin colour blends in. It doesn’t contain any shimmer so all in all it is beginner friendly. If that streaky Instagram highlight freaks you out then you might want to give this one a try. The only drawback is that it dries down slowly so if you have to set it with powder instantly, you tone down the glow considerably. It looks amazing on bare skin and lasts for a really long time in the summers without a setting powder.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (Book Review)

This was a birthday present from a fellow fantasy buff, which is surprising since I rarely read non-fantasy books. This book was written by two authors, the second picking it up after the original one, Siobhan Dowd, passed away. This is one of those unforgettable books that anyone at any age can read, feel and understand. It is absolutely beautiful!

I cannot really put into words what the story is about. A Monster Calls revolves around a young boy and the monsters he encounters while struggling to come to terms with an increasingly complicated life. The plot is nothing like you would expect. Every chapter pulls you in deeper. My favourite part was the mini tales woven within the main plot. As you follow the young boy’s journey, things start to get clearer, you learn the lessons he is being taught and your heart breaks just a little more every time you turn over a page.

I would recommend everyone give this a read if they want to experience something heartwarming, heartbreaking and life changing.

If you want to follow my reviews and ratings just visit my Goodreads profile here.

Thank you to all my lovely friends who made this birthday so special. I hope you guys enjoyed going through my presents.


Disclaimer: This is a personal blog edited by its owners and the opinions expressed here belong solely to its owner's. For questions and queries please email at
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Saturday 6 August 2016

Master Classes - Lesson Learnt, Experience & Alternatives

Masterclasses, makeup, learning makeup, makeup artists
Image Source: Internet

Disclaimer: I am not a pro makeup artist but a makeup lover who, after following people like Lisa Eldridge, Jordan Liberty and Wayne Goss has developed a twisted type of common sense that can tell good makeup apart from poor and worse.

And no, I did not take any formal course or master class for that awareness, except for one but that did nothing special for me.

A Little Back Story

I felt it was right to put an early disclaimer before I start poking at the newest and probably the most hushed and controversial trend that has risen not only in Pakistan but all over the world as well in just the past few years – the makeup master classes.

Before anyone starts ridiculing and criticizing me, let me clarify here that I don’t speak as a professional, I speak as a consumer here. I love makeup, I love how it can bring the best out of a person and I love how one is free to wear makeup in whatever shape and form they please. I have been using makeup for more than 7 years now and whatever I can do today on myself is because I wanted to be amazing at it, which sadly I may achieve 10 or 15 years from now.

Okay before I delve into this deeply, let me introduce all of you to one of the twisted sides of my personality. I like difficult. I hate being the norm. I hate being the person that is seen as part of the herd. I hate not being the-one-that-stands-out among the rest. I have been like this to date. I am the same when it comes to makeup. I am actually the same when it comes to anything in life. I will never stop until I have perfected a certain thing no matter how long it takes or how hard the process seems. When I started practicing makeup on myself I hated how it turned out every time but I kept going. Ending with racoon eyes and poorly paired lips and cheeks at times to managing a perfect cat-eye at other instances, I had my high and lows which I still have.

Lately, I have started getting a lot of requests both from within my family, friends and complete strangers to do their makeup mostly because they were left in awe after seeing whatever looks I do and put up on my Instagram and Facebook feed. Considering the career option seriously I started looking into makeup courses and experts in our industry for proper guidance, training and mentorship. As naive as I was, I sensed nothing but pure jealousy and competition from people who are running salons towards someone who is not even close to setting her makeup kit let alone a salon.

Sadly, Pakistan lacks the healthy environment for novices to train themselves under the wings of experts. They would see you as their competition first and a makeup enthusiast later who simply wants to learn and I say this from my experience with two makeup salons, one a really unpopular one and the other a rather famous for their name.

My Experience With A Master Class Taught Me Never To Go That Route Again

Earlier this year, in one of my attempts to reach out to makeup experts in Pakistan I ended up attending a Master Class. I will not go into a lot the details but I do want to point out a few things here for every makeup lover out there reading this who too is looking for ways to learn and enter the business.

I think there is a fine line between someone who actually wants to teach makeup and a pure businessperson trying to sell their looks in master classes. I have seen it a lot and I am sure many of you too have as well in master classes’ advertisements where they would attract your attention by using a few trendy words and golden opportunity to teach you a few famous techniques that they have been doing on their clients. Am I against it? No. Do I consider this practice wrong? No. Selling yourself through proper marketing is pure brilliance and a sign of a successful businessperson. The fact that they manage to attract such a huge mass of people eager to learn their cult and secret techniques despite of their skyrocketing prices tells me a lot about amazing marketing, in my humble opinion. And this does not apply to our local artists alone.

If you are someone who on one hand has little to no idea about makeup or knows quite a bit about it, here is why I think master classes are not the right way for either of the kind to educate them about makeup (and I stress upon the word educate for a reason which shall be clear by the end of the post). Consider this an honest review based on my experience.

Expensive Is Not Always The Best
Its basic human nature I think: the more expensive the better which we all have experienced a lot of times is not true most of the times. Depending on how famous the artist is they do not hesitate from charging from 15,000 to as high as 50,000 for their master classes. The one I attended charged 15,000 for one day. I did learn from it. Was it a lot? No. Was it worth 15,000? Not at all. If I could go back in time I would probably spend my hard earned 15,000 on better products and put those to practice. If you really want to learn in person from someone experienced in the field go for the less expensive classes I’d say. There are a lot. Do some digging and I am sure you will find the one that suits your budget. I will neither attack nor recommend a particular person here by name.

“But We Offer Complete Courses As Well!”
I have contacted a lot of top makeup trainers and institutes in Pakistan (IFAP, Depilex and Newlook to name a few) regarding their courses and fee structure. While I do realise makeup artistry is something that pays you quite well if you really know your way around the products and are really good at it therefore spending a few hundred thousand bucks on a course should not bother me. But one thing or another always made me reluctant to join any of these institutes. Either their fee was too high for me to afford at the moment or their work did never really attract me. I know a lot of people would recommend me one of these institutes but again, it’s a thing that doesn’t sit right with me so I’d probably never go that road and spend 300,000 or 400,000 on a 4 or 5 months course that does not have something incredible and extraordinary to offer.

One, Two or Even Three Days Are Never Enough
The artist in the master class I attended was super eager to teach. She listened to each one of us individually and noted down our questions to answer. She shared with us as much as she could in that whole day class but yet I didn’t leave fulfilled.

A three-day Basic to Advance makeup artistry course can never guarantee to polish your skills by the end of the course. If it says so, do not believe I’d say. Learning is a continuous process and if you are already familiar with the obvious Dos and Don’ts of makeup then polishing your skills is the next thing you want to do and that requires practice. Do it on yourself or on people but practice a lot. You must make mistakes to evolve. And if you are someone who is totally new to makeup and thinks that a three day makeup course is probably the best way for you to learn makeup and that it would somehow magically take you from a novice to some who knows and practices advanced makeup then take the advice of an experienced person. I’d not recommend you spend money on any master class.

The master class I attended had people with all types of experience in makeup, from completely clueless, to enthusiasts who had some knowledge to complete professionals working in the field. While I did grasp and understood a lot of the tips and tricks the artist had to share, but I found the people who were clueless or had very little knowledge struggling and finding it hard to keep up with the artist’s pace. That’s one of my observations. If you really want to attend a master class, join one when you have known and practiced makeup for some time because master classes are quite particular in their content and it’s more about looking at how a particular artist does makeup on their clients.

Are there any alternatives? Here are some cheaper and free ways of learning makeup that I have adopted:

YouTube Is Full Of Free Master Classes
And when I say YouTube I do not mean beauty influencers, I mean the real makeup artists who have had a long career in the field before they jumped onto the YouTube bandwagon. Lisa Eldridge, Mary Greenwell, Robert Jones, Jordan Liberty, Wayne Goss to name a few are my absolute favourite and I am amazed at how detailed their videos really are. I personally have learnt a lot more from these people than anyone else combined and I’d recommend you guys as well check out their channels. The key here is to really focus on the artist’s hand movements and product placements. You might need to replay a video many times like I do until you really see and understand what is happening. Why would I ever want to go another way when I have such amazing material at my disposal? That too free!

Read Good Books
Here is a great article that lists all the essential books that an aspiring and a working artist must own: 15 Must Have Books for Aspiring Makeup Artists. I have recently purchased Color by Betty Edwards after an international professional makeup artist recommended it to me and boy am I glad I did! Based on Color Theory right from the basics to advanced level with extensive exercises for the reader to test their learning along the way, this is probably one of the most adored and read books by makeup artists and painters alike. Most of the successful international makeup artists have a background in art or have attended the formal makeup school followed by extensive training under experienced artists. After having read only 6 chapters of the book now I realise how crucial this stuff is to makeup artists. However, if you do not wish to purchase the book right away here is a two-part video I discovered some days ago that explains the basics of Colour Theory in a concise way: Video 1 and Video 2. Also, The Unknown Beauty Blog is loaded with amazing theory, basic and extensive explanation on makeup and its various application techniques, so check that out as well.

Practice, Practice & Practice
I am guilty of not doing that a lot but I realise that is the only way one could master any skill. We all know the drill so let’s not go into the details.

No, the Certificates Carry No Value
I feel sorry to break it to you but certificates earned through master classes hold no value until your work proves otherwise. I did consider them important and essential until one of the international makeup artists I follow told me otherwise. Will I go to a makeup artist simply because they have a particular artist’s certificate hanging inside their studio? No. I will always judge them through their work and yes I will judge them, deep down inside my heart. Okay, that was a bad joke, pardon me for that.

Most of you would be familiar with how you need to have a proper license to work as a makeup artist if you are a US residential as per most of their states’ rules. So if you have 100s of makeup course certificates but not a license that allows you to practice then those certificates are pretty much useless. But we are talking about Pakistan here where one could practice medicine as well without an authentic license let alone makeup artistry.

So, we are left with two options: either spend on a lot of certificates, feel amazing, start practicing makeup and earn clients through amazing work or never spend on a certificate, feel equally amazing, practice makeup as much and earn clients, again through amazing work. So, putting the certificates aside, in my eyes it’s their work that should be the criteria of judgment and not the piles and heaps of certificates. I assume our girls are clever enough to opt for an artist based on their work alone, am I right ladies?

Spend Your Hard Earned Money on Products Instead
Makeup is expensive. I have started putting together a professional kit for my practice lately and I know how hard it is to gather a few products especially when we are left with no choice other than to import the stuff from US/UK. If you are a makeup artist who already has a kit and still want to splurge on master classes, go ahead. Do as you please because I will not criticise your decision but if you are someone like me then you better spend your money on products, start practicing and stop worrying about not having a certificate to prove your worth.

My God! This was one long post. Love me or hate me but this is how I feel about this trend and I am not at all ashamed to express my opinion ;)

Now you might wonder, will I ever attend a master class gain? Sure, if I get a free entry pass (which will not be the case anyway after this post goes live). But will I spend my money on one? Umm, nopes.

Have you ever attended any master class? What are your views? Share them in the comments below.


Disclaimer: All the views mentioned in this post are mine alone and are not meant to be imposed on anyone. Take them or leave them but refrain from using foul language. Peace x
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